Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signs executive order to protect immigrant citizens
New Jersey's second largest city vowed to protect its immigrant citizens Friday.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signed an executive order to spell out the city's new sanctuary city policy, despite threats of losing federal aid.
Fulop said legal action will be taken if the Trump administration cuts off aid to the city after he ordered no city money or agencies, including the police, can be used for federal immigration enforcement.
"They will be met in court and met in court aggressively," Fulop said.
Jersey City has been an unofficial sanctuary city for 20 years. The label means it has a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws. Mayor Fulop's executive order finally made it official.
The mayor says Jersey City is one of the nation's most diverse communities, with 75 languages spoken in its schools.
President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration and has the support of Gov. Chris Christie in that effort.
"The federal government has to give tools to the states to be able to give help to enforce federal immigration law," Christie said. "The Obama administration was not interested in doing that. If the Trump administration is, they'll have a friend."
Jersey City's public safety director says that being deemed a sanctuary city makes it earlier for crime victims and witnesses to come forward in solving crimes in the immigrant communities, because they do not have to fear deportation.
New Jersey has had a directive by the state Attorney General's Office since 2007 ordering police officers not to question a crime victim or anyone looking for assistance about their immigration status.
Sen. Cory Booker also introduced a bill Friday to ban state and location authorities from being able to arrest people for suspicions about their immigration status. Booker says the program diverts law enforcement from their primary duties and dissuades immigrants from reporting crimes.